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Just because we're moms doesn't mean we have to relinquish our dreams. Here're a few things I've learned along the way as I've achieved my goals and raised a family.
We’ve heard it so many times before. After my kids are in school or After my kids move out of the home, I will…
…go back to school
…start my own business
…write that novel
Yet just because we’re moms doesn’t mean we have to give up our dreams. How do I know? I’m a mom of ten kids, and I’ve written dozens of books. From the moment I first started writing, I had kids at home.
I’ve learned a few things about balancing both work and children, and making my dreams possible:
1. Choose your priorities well.
Parenting is all-consuming. We can spend every moment caring for our children and there would be plenty to fill our time. In order to follow your dreams, it’s important to choose your priorities well. Ask, “What is most important?” Then once you choose your priorities, be diligent on cutting out what didn’t make the list.
Caring for our children’s needs and spending quality time with them should always be at the top of our priorities, but there are so many other things that can be cut. You don’t have to sign your child up for every after-school activity or enrichment program, no matter how cool they sound or how much you believe it will benefit your child’s future. Let your children pick one favorite activity and stick with that. Let the rest go. A wise parent is actually one who teaches their kids to focus most on the priorities in their lives, too.
2. Make good use of the fringe hours.
Remember the work needed to follow your dreams doesn’t have to happen 9-5. Maybe you’re a work-outside-the-home mom who is trying to put food on the table. Maybe you’re a work-at-home-mom who finds the hours caring for kids filled to the brim. In both cases, think outside the box.
My best writing happens between 4-6 a.m. Other moms carve out time after their kids go to bed. Some work during nap time or pre-school hours.
If you spend 30-60 minutes a day on planning your dreams—and taking small steps to execute them—the effort will add up! As the months pass, you’ll find yourself stepping toward your dreams in a steady motion. And as you build momentum, it’ll be easier to be motivated to get real work done in these fringe hours.
3. Cut time wasters.
Scrolling Facebook and Instagram, or binging Netflix, takes time away from following your dreams. Also, daily chores consume hours. There are two alternatives, 1) lower your standards a smidgen, or 2) better organize your days.
Remember those daydreams you had as a child? They were there for a reason. They were planted in your heart for a purpose.
Your laundry doesn’t have to be finished and folded every day, and you don’t need to put a healthy, organic meal on the table every night. (Your family will survive, I promise.) Also, doing large chores like shopping once a week, instead of running by the store daily, saves a lot of time. Organize the thirty minutes you save here, or the hour you save there, into time doing something to pursue your dreams.
4. Realize you don't have to do it all now.
Following your dreams doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Instead, it can be “this” now and “that” later. Maybe you can’t open a boutique, but perhaps you can start an Etsy store. Maybe you don’t have to launch that epic historical novel, but you can start a blog or podcast. Small goals accomplished are a great foundation to build on in the future.
5. Give yourself permission.
Pursing your dreams is worth your time and effort. Don’t feel guilty! Remember those daydreams you had as a child? They were there for a reason. They were planted in your heart for a purpose. They’re important not only for you, but for your world and for your kids.
When kids see their mom following her dreams they will grow up and do the same. Do you want your kids to use their gifts and talents and step out to do great things? Good! Then be a living model, a visual example. Making the effort to see your dreams come to life will show your children how to do the same.